Junction 13 SC ‘Not a rally’ rally | RALLERY
I don’t need to remind you how decimated our rally season has been by the dreaded virus, but with ongoing social distancing restrictions and further lockdowns what does the future hold for our beloved rallies? Will we ever get back to the large-scale events that we know and love?
After the uncertainty of the first lockdown and with rallies falling like flies a few of us decided to find our own scootering fix during the summer. We’d been discussing looking for a campsite somewhere random, in the middle of nowhere. Only one main stipulation – it had to be near a pub! This would allow our small group of riding buddies (the Usual Suspects) to enjoy a ride and to meet up for some socially distanced socialising.
A Jolly good idea
Well, all of our umming and ahhing was quickly put to one side when back in July scootering legend, Mr Nick Jolly stepped forward as he had been thinking along the same lines. Nick had decided to organise a small gathering for his club, Junction 13 SC’s summer holiday and decided to see if any friends were interested in joining the party.
Nick thought that he’d left behind rally organising many years ago, so fair play and thank you to him for starting again in his 60s! For those that don’t know Nick, he was one of the main guys behind the creation of VFM back in the 80s, you can read more about his history in the excellent interview he did with ScooterNova, back in edition 10.
Eeny, meanie, miny, moe…
A private Facebook group was set up to gauge interest, this grew quickly and Nick was now faced with trying to find a campsite that would allow a group to pitch up for the weekend. He found a basic site behind a farm in the beautiful rolling countryside near Wells in Somerset. It was great news that the farmer had welcomed us, however, he had limited it to only 30 people, so the next challenge was to try to whittle the growing FB group down to the lucky 30.
Only one thing for it, first come first served. Thankfully we were quick off the mark and got to join in the fun. To avoid things getting out of hand with large numbers turning up unexpectedly, the exact location was only issued to the lucky 30 a few days before the event. However, a few others managed to find out the location and had booked directly with the farmer, this swelled the numbers to approximately 50 attending over the weekend. With people coming from all corners of Southern England & the Midlands. Thankfully the farmer had given us our own field, apparently known as ‘the honeymoon field’?! There was a rickety old caravan in the corner of the horses paddock next door, so I guess it could be rickety due to the action it’s seen from all of the rampant newlyweds!
Just like the good old days
This would be the first and potentially last real outing for many this year, so 50 party animal scooterists in a field in the middle of nowhere, with a BBQ, a pile of wood, some matches (and not forgetting a few cans and bottles of alcohol) meant the Friday night was a cracker, plenty of laughs, stories and piss-taking that scooterists do so well, especially when sat around a campfire. Chatting and partying into the early hours as we caught up with old friends, was exactly what was needed after the months of lockdown and missing out on many UK and Euro rallies.
The weather on Saturday was good so we wandered down the road to the village pub for a decent (socially distanced) meal and a few drinks, before a trip into Wells to replenish the drink supplies and BBQ goodies ready for the Saturday night. Meandering back to the site through a wood we stumbled on some druids performing a sacrifice – they were actually a bunch of travellers playing their instruments, although the music was really hypnotic so maybe they were trying to capture their next victim?
Saturday night was a bit more of a chilled one. Many were still broken from the Friday night excesses, but the fun and frolics around the fire continued. Sunday morning and we grabbed a breakfast from the New Age traveller’s bus that was set up cooking in the next field, before the dreaded packing up of the tents, etc. and the enjoyable ride home.
Nick made sure we all had a momento for this mini COVID affected rally, no rally patch, but, ever the forerunner, Nick gave us all the first-ever rally mask! A huge thank you to Nick and the J13 SC for inviting us to party with them and giving us a highlight for 2020’s scootering memories.
What will the future hold?
Could this be the future, ‘the new normal’? Since this event, several other smaller groups have loaded up their scooters and headed off into the middle of nowhere for their own socially distanced social events. We’ve seen a small gathering for a Vespa Club event (ticket only for 60 people) and a rally over in Northern Ireland, a few scooter friends camping in The Cotswolds and in Wales, plus a few riders doing the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
Maybe the small, invite, or ticket only events are all we can hope for in these surreal times. Sadly the restrictions seem to be with us for the long haul and we’re now seeing the early rallies for 2021 (Scooterist Meltdown for starters) start to fall victim to it. So what do you think?
Do we just sit back and watch people fall away from scootering as they find a new ‘normal’ doing other things, or should we be looking at finding our own scootering new normal until the shackles are off and the (old normal) rallies can resume? If so, could Nick’s invite/ticket only style, smaller gathering be the way forward? Groups of closer rally friends doing their own thing? It would be good to hear your thoughts, so please post below and let’s try to come up with some ideas to stop things going stale if the virus doesn’t do one soon.
Words and photos: Shaun Hodgkin
Shaun’s J13 SC Rallery
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